Morrissey set to tour US

Former Smiths frontman and musical legend Morrissey returns to the U.S. for a full tour for the first time in three years. Aside from the two shows in Chicago and Pasadena, his 2006 world tour skipped the states entirely.

This world wide trek includes music from and is in support of Morrissey's latest album, Ringleader of the Tormentors. The tour makes some landmark stops including the Hollywood Bowl and Madison Square Garden.

London piano and drums duo KRISTEENYOUNG is slated to back Morrissey for the entire tour. The group recently completed its fourth album, The Orphans.

Official Morrissey 2007 U.S. Tour Dates:

27 - Stockton, Calif. @ Bob Hope Theater
28 – Sparks, Nev. @ John Ascuaga's Celebrity Showroom
29 - Sparks, Nev. @ John Ascuaga Celebrity Showroom

1 – Oakland, Calif. @ Paramount Theater
2 – Santa Rosa, Calif. @ Wells Fargo Center
5 – Spokane, Wa. @ INB Performing Arts Center
6 – Seattle, Wa. @ Paramount
8 – Salt Lake City, Utah @ Center Ford Theater
9 – Denver, Co. @ Fillmore
11 – Omaha, Neb. @ Orpheum
12 – Milwaukee, Wis. @ Riverside
14 – Ann Arbor, Mich. @ Michigan Theater
15 – Chicago, Ill. @ Auditorium
17 – Cleveland, Ohio @ Playhouse Square Center
18 – Columbus, Ohio @ Palace Theater
20 – Indianapolis, Ind. @ Murat Center
22 – St. Louis, Mo. @ The Pageant
23 – Kansas City, Mo. @ Uptown Theater
25 – Dallas, Texas @ Palladium
26 – Austin, Texas @ Backyard
28 – Houston, Texas @ Verizon
30 – El Paso, Texas @ County Coliseum
31 – Tucson, Ariz. @ Music Hall

2 – Phoenix, Ariz. @ Maricopa County Events Center
3 – San Diego, Calif. @ Bayside Concerts
5 – Ventura, Calif. @ Majestic Ventura Theater
6 – Riverside, Calif. @ Riverside Municipal Auditorium
8 – Los Angeles, Calif. @ Hollywood Bowl
9 – Las Vegas, Nev. @ Pearl
10 – Bakersfield, Calif. @ Rabobank Arena
26 – Boston, Mass. @ Bank of America Pavilion
27 – Northampton, Maine @ Pines Theater
29 - Philadelphia, Penn. @ Mann Center
30 – New York, N.Y. @ MSG

2 – Vienna, Va. @ Wolf Trap
3 – Baltimore, Md. @ Rams Head
5 – Atlantic City, N.J. @ Borgata
6 - Holmdel, N.J. @ PNC Bank Arts Center
9 – Norfolk, Va. @ The Norva
10 – Knoxville, Tenn. @ Tennessee Theatre
12 – Clearwater, Fla. 2 Ruth Eckerd Hall
14 – Boca Raton, Fla. 2 Mizner Park Amphitheater
15 – Orlando, Fla. @ Hard Rock Live
17 Jacksonville, Fla. @ Morocco Shrine Auditorium
19 - Birmingham, Ala. @ Alabama Theatre
20 - Atlanta, Ga. @ Chastain Park
21 - Myrtle Beach, S.C. @ House of Blues


High Fidelity: Regina Spector to tour

Russian born, Bronx raised, Indie siren Regina Spektor embarks on her U.S. tour, beginning in Portland on April 24.

This upcoming tour is Spektor's second of the US in support of last year's Begin To Hope. Her September 2006 tour sold out venues across the country. The tour is scheduled to stops by both the Coachella and Bonnaroo festivals.

Spektor's confirmed tour dates:
Portland, OR - Crystal Ballroom (4.24)
Seattle, WA - Moore Theatre (4.25)
Sacramento, CA - The Empire (4.26)
Indio, CA - Coachella (4.28)
San Diego, CA - House of Blues (4.29)
San Francisco, CA - The Warfield (4.30)
Denver, CO - Odgen Theatre (5.4)
Chicago, IL - Riviera Theatre (5.13)
Manchester, TN - Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival (6.17)

MP3: Regina Spektor - Fidelity


Flaming Lips, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Snow Patrol swing into action on Spider-Man 3 soundtrack

Snow Patrol, the Flaming Lips, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs all contribute to the upcoming soundtrack to this summer's Spider-Man 3, set to drop May 1 via Record Collection 3 days before the film hits theatres. Eager fans can listen to the compilation's first single, Snow Patrol's "Signal Fire" via the soundtrack's web site.

The Flaming Lips penned "The Supreme Being Teaches Spider-Man How To Be in Love" for the compilation while the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Karen O check in with their track "Sealings."
The album also features new songs from Wolfmother, the Walkmen, and the Killers.

Speaking to Billboard.com in a recent interview, Lips frontman Wayne Coyne said, "Peter Parker never seems to get over his introverted lack of confidence, at least in the classic comic books I remember," adding, "I was looking for some excuse to write a fight song, and then this came up. It has the chiming of the bell when they go into the ring. It's silly, but with the right storyline, it can be a lot of fun."

Listen Now: Snow Patrol - Signal Fire

Amy Winehouse releases Back to Black video

British vocal phenom/train wreck Amy Winehouse just released Back to Black, the third video off of the album for the title track, and though it’s not yet available in the U.S. Winehouse plans a North American tour starting April 26 in San Francisco.

Tour dates include:


26 - San Francisco, Calif. @ Popscene
27 - Indio, Calif. @ Empire Polo Grounds
30 - Boulder, Colo. @ Fox Theatre

2 - Minneapolis, Minn. @ Varsity Theater
3 - Chicago, Ill. @ Schubas
6 - Philadelphia, Penn. @ Theatre Of The Living Arts
7 - Boston, Mass. @ Paradise Rock Club
8 - New York, N.Y. @ The Highline Ballroom
9 - New York, N.Y. @ The Highline Ballroom
12 - Toronto, Ontario @ Mod Club
13 - Toronto, Ontario @ Mod Club


Matchstick Women: Tegan and Sara complete "The Con"

Canadian sibling and rock duo Tegan & Sara recently completed recording their third album, The Con, set to drop July 24 via Vapor/Sanctuary Records. The Con is the follow-up to 2004's So Jealous.

Twin sisters Tegan and Sara Quin worked with Death Cab For Cutie guitarist Chris Walla to produce the new 14 track album. "They wanted something that was a little bit grittier," Walla told Billboard.com in January. Also sitting in on The Con is AFI bassist Hunter Burgan and the Rentals' Matt Sharp.

Tegan and Sara plan on a series of small club performances in July and August, plus an extensive, headlining, North American tour set for October.

The tracklisting for The Con :

  1. "I Was Married"
  2. "Relief Next to Me"
  3. "The Con"
  4. "Knife Going In"
  5. "Are You Ten Years Ago"
  6. "Back in Your Head"
  7. "Hop a Plane"
  8. "Soil, Soil"
  9. "Burn Your Life Down"
  10. "Nineteen"
  11. "Floorplan"
  12. "Like O, Like H"
  13. "Dark Come Soon"
  14. "Call It Off"


Live: Arcade Fire rocks New York church

Arcade Fire's 2004 debut Funeral, was one of the decade's most remarkable and innovative rock albums. The Canadian octet's sophomore album Neon Bible proved to fans and critics alike that their creativity, enthusiasm, and ingenuity were the genuine articles.

The band performed at New York's Judson Memorial Church, Feb 17, 2007. Arcade Fire originally broadcast the concert as a live webcast courtesy of All Songs Considered.

Listen Now - Arcade Fire Live @ Judson Memorial Church 2.17.07


Brit Rocker Nick Lowe returns

British rock legend Nick Lowe plans to release his first album since 2001's Convincer, on the Yep Roc label. At My Age a new full length album, features guest spots by the Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde and Bill Kirchen. Nine of the 12 tracks are Lowe originals, while various covers finish it off.

Lowe is best known as the main songwriter and principal member of Rockpile with Dave Edmunds. He has also produced classic albums with artists including Elvis Costello. Lowe's biggest (and only US top 40) hit was the 70s classic "Cruel to be Kind". The album drops June 26.


New Pornographers record "epic" album

Canadian sextet The New Pornographers are currently recording their follow up to 2005's indie smash Twin Cinema. They plan to drop the album in late August on the Matador label.

Twin Cinema showcased the band's willingness to take risks lyrically and musically as well as explore different musical genres. In a recent Billboard.com interview, group member Carl Newman stated that, "all bets were off for this new album" adding that the new album is, "maybe slightly more epic. It has our first song that passes the six-minute-long mark. In fact, it might have our first songs that pass the five-minute mark!" in the same interview.

Alt-Country phenom Neko Case joins the band again featured on three songs, one of which, the track "Go Places," Newman describes as, "one of the biggest departures for us."

Also on the new album is Newman's work "Salinger," that he describes as, "more of a ballad than we've ever had before. You don't want to depart too much from what you are, but at the same time, you don't want to totally repeat."

The New Pornographers plan to play some of the album's new songs at several upcoming shows and will appear in April at Coachella. Their headlining tour will run from September to October.

Watch Now: The New Pornographers - Sing Me Spanish Techno


Old School: Traveling Wilburys, Young, Buckley all release albums

After 10 years out of print, rock's ultimate supergroup featuring Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, George Harrison, and Jeff Lynn return. Sort of. The Traveling Wilburys Volume 1 and Traveling Wilburys Volume 3 are back on store shelves June 12.

Available in a variety of formats including single package with bonus tracks, a DVD of rare footage, as a deluxe linen-bound edition, or a vinyl and digital bundle, the album is expected to be a smash. The limited edition DVD features a 24-minute documentary and five music videos from the all-star group.

Also releasing archival works are Neil Young and the late Jeff Buckley. Young's Archive Vol. 1 features his vintage concert "Live at Massey Hall" taped Jan. 19, 1971, at the Toronto venue featuring Young's rare solo performances from the same. Young debuted material here including legendary "The Needle and the Damage Done," "Old Man" and "Heart of Gold," his only No. 1.

Finally, while there have been tons of posthumous Jeff Buckley releases, Columbia/Legacy releases So Real: Songs of Jeff Buckley, 14 tracks collected from Buckleys extensive catalogue, on May 22, just before the 10th anniversary of his death.

So Real... includes an acoustic edition of the title track recorded in Japan, an alternate take of Dream Brother, a live version of Mojo Pin and a Smiths cover. Jeff's mother oversaw everything on So Real from tracks to album art.

Watch Now: Jeff Buckley: Forget Her [from the Grace Legacy Edition LP]

Guitar Heroes: Clapton joined by list of legends at Crossroads

Guitar legend Eric Clapton heads the impressive guest list for this year's Crossroads Guitar Festival for 2007. The festival, starting July 28 at the Toyota Park in Chicago, IL. Performers joining Slowhand on the main stage include B.B. King, John Mayer, Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Steve Winwood, Alison Krauss & Union Station, the Robert Cray Band, Doyle Bramhall and Jimmie Vaughan.

Proceeds from the event will benefit Clapton's rehab facility, the Crossroads Centre. Tickets for the second annual festival go on sale March 31. Tickets are priced $15 for Friday, $45 for Saturday and $60 for Sunday.


Live: The Good, The Bad, and the Queen play the 9:30 Club

The Good, The Bad, & The Queen recently played the 9:30 Club in Washington D.C. and NPR was there to catch it. Featuring Blur frontman/Gorillaz member Damon Albarn, legendary Clash bassist Paul Simonon, Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen and onetime Verve guitarist Simon Tong, The Good, The Bad, & The Queen is currently crafting arguably the best rock in years.

Hear the group recorded live from Washington, D.C.'s 9:30 Club.

OK Go headed to studio

After a year and a half of a riotously popular video campaign, (including a Grammy award for best short for "Here it Goes Again") Ok Go is ready to head back to the studio.

The band has been riding the wave of notoriety since 2005 and the YouTube, backyard, dance, video smash, "A Million Ways" and is currently on tour supporting Snow Patrol. After the Snow Patrol dates, the band will open for The Fray starting June 11 and running through July 1.

After the tour, Kulash and Co. will take the summer off to finish writing their new album and will most likely head into a Swedish studio in the fall.

Though there will be considerable pressure for the follow up album, frontman Damien Kulash is certain that fans both old and new alike will remain loyal. Kulash is excited about what the future has in store for the band saying in a recent interview with Billboard, "We've certainly raised the bar, but we also are not going to judge the things we make in the future by the same terms that we judge what's going on (now)."


How sweet it is: Starbucks launches independent music label "Hear Music"

The Starbucks coffee chain has officially formed their own music label Hear Music, in conjunction with Concord recordings. Albums released on the Hear Music label will feature up and coming artists and well established acts for sale both in Starbucks shops and at other retailers.

Hear Music expects to release its first album by the end of 2007. The Hear Music label began in 1999, mainly responsible for sale of compilation albums, scoring a smash hit with Ray Charles' 2002 release Genius Loves Company, an album of duets.

There are unconfirmed reports that Sir Paul McCartney has signed with Hear Music for his new album.


Modest Mouse releases single, music video for Dashboard

Indie rockers Modest Mouse released the single and music video for the first single off their new album We Were Dead Before the Boat Even Sank. The album drops March 20.

Alive and Kicking: Modest Mouse's We Were Dead Before the Boat Even Sank

The fifth album from Modest Mouse, We Were Dead Before the Boat Even Sank finds us in the same places we've been before. Bummed out, pissed off, and crafting some of the finest indie music of our generation.

Much the same subject matter (grief, depression, etc.) is mined as in the band's four previous albums "Bang your head like a gong/
'Cause it's filled with all wrong/Ah ha ha! Clang, clang, clang!" but given the success of Good News for People Who like Bad News, Epic Records gave Modest Mouse the opportunity to showcase their talents. They delivered. The boys sound more cohesive and cleaner than ever before. Frontman Isaac Brock's growls are growlier. The sonic layers are deeper and the musical twists are twistier.

The addition of guitarist Johnny Marr enlivens the already superb and nuanced guitar work and guest spots from The Shins' James Mercer make the album that much more brilliant. Brock's lyrics are in their finest form. Wordy, dark, and whimsical, each track is emotionally charged without being whiny or adolescent. Instead, these songs deal with feelings of isolation, depression, and confusion with matter-of-fact sobriety acknowledging that life goes on despite ourselves.

Longtime fans will be pleased to know that the band is as dour as ever. Those looking for another "Float On" may be disappointed as many of the tracks on We Were Dead are less accessible than much of Good News. The nearest pop single is Dashboard, the opening track. Everyone will be pleased to know that sing along suicide choruses abound. 2007 has been a great year for music and this album may just help make it a landmark. With outstanding songwriting, flawless musicianship, and brilliant production We Were Dead is certain to become one of Modest Mouse's seminal albums. We Were Dead Before The Boat Even Sank is scheduled to drop March 20. - Highly Recommended

Listen Now -
Modest Mouse - Dashboard


Smashing Pumpkins, Interpol, Killers headlining Virgin concert

The Smashing Pumpkins confirm that they will be headlining the upcoming North American leg of the Virgin Music Festival along with labelmates The Killers and Interpol. The Toronto leg festival scheduled for Sept. 8-9 will feature Interpol and Icelandic superstar Bjork the first evening with the Pumpkins headlining the mainstage for the second.
The Killers will anchor the Vancouver set of the festival along with My Chemical Romance. Vancouver dates are set for early May 2007.

The newly reformed Pumpkins have finished their latest effort which is scheduled for release July 7 and will be touring in support of the album.

Ben Folds, John Mayer to tour summer 2007

Guitar rocker John Mayer and piano rocker Ben Folds will be touring together summer 2007. Mayer tapped Folds to be the mainstage opener to support him on the upcoming Continuum tour. The mainly arena/amphitheater tour for the multi Grammy winning album kicks off on June 1 in Ridgefield, Wash. and runs cross-country ending in Palm Beach, Fl. on August 8. Tickets for most venues go on sale March 24.

Folds himself will set out on a headlining tour starting March 24 at Assumption College in Worchester, Mass finishing up August 8 with the final leg of the Continuum tour. Folds recently released his LP Super Sunny Speed Graphic a collection of previously "web only" singles and the wildly popular DVD Live at My Space, showcasing his performance on Myspace's first live-by-request online concert.

Dates for the
Continuum tour:
June 1: Ridgefield, Wash. (The Amphitheatre)
June 2: George, Wash. (The Gorge)
June 5: San Jose, Calif. (HP Pavilion)
June 6: Fresno, Calif. (Save Mart Center)
June 8: Las Vegas (Mandalay)
June 9: Los Angeles (Hollywood Bowl)
June 12: Chula Vista, Calif. (Coors Amphitheatre)
June 13: Glendale, Ariz. (Jobing.com Arena)
June 15-16: Denver (Red Rocks)
June 19: Kansas City, Mo. (Verizon Wireless)
June 20: Maryland Heights, Mo. (Verizon Wireless)
June 22: Dallas (Smirnoff Music Center)
June 23: Houston (C.W. Mitchell Pav)
June 23: San Antonio, Texas (AT&T Center)
June 26: Cincinnati (US Bank Arena)
June 28-29: Chicago (Charter One Pavilion)
June 30: Indianapolis (Verizon Wireless)
July 1: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio (Blossom Music Center)
July 3: Milwaukee, Wis. (Marcus Amphitheatre)
July 5: Auburn Hills, Mich. (The Palace)
July 14: Hartford, Conn. (Dodge Music Center)
July 15: Saratoga, N.Y. (SPAC)
July 17: Boston (Banknorth Garden)
July 20: Camden, N.J. (Tweeter Waterfront)
July 21: Hershey, Penn. (Hershey Park)July 24: Holmdel, N.J. (PNC)
July 25: Washington, D.C. (Verizon Center)
July 26: Uniondale, N.Y. (Nassau Colisuem)
July 30: Virginia Beach, Va. (Verizon Wireless)
July 31: Raleigh, N.C. (Walnut Creek Amp)
Aug. 1: Charlotte, N.C. (Verizon Wireless)
Aug. 3: Nashville, Tenn. (Gaylord Center)
Aug. 4: Pelham, Ala. (Verizon Wireless)
Aug. 5: Atlanta (Phillips)
Aug. 7: Tampa, Fla. (Ford Amphitheatre)
Aug. 8: West Palm Beach, Fla. (Sound Advice)


Arctic Monkeys unleash new single, music video

Brit rockers The Arctic Monkeys officially released the first single, "Brainstorm", from their upcoming sophomore release Favourite Worst Nightmare and the accompanying music video. The band will tour later this year to support their new album. Favourite Worst Nightmare's U.S. release is set for April 24, 2007.


Ben Gibbard to tour May 2007 with Pedro the Lion

Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie, The Postal Service) officially announced that he will be touring with Jonathan Rice and Dave Bazan (Pedro the Lion) to promote his new solo effort while Death Cab for Cutie is between albums and guitarist Chris Walla works on a solo project of his own.

Official Tour Dates 2007
3 - Minneapolis, Minn. @ First Avenue
4 - Chicago, Ill. @ Metro
5 - Detroit, Mich. @ Majestic Theatre
7 - Somerville, Mass. @ Somerville Theatre
8 - New York, N.Y. @ Town Hall
9 - Philadelphia, Pa. @ Theatre of Living Arts
10 - Washington, D.C. @ 9:30 Club
11 - Carrboro, N.C. @ Cat’s Cradle
12 - Atlanta, Ga. @ Center Stage
13 - Nashville, Tenn. @ City Hall
14 - Dallas, Tex. @ Granada Theater
15 - Austin, Tex. @ Emo’s
17 - Los Angeles, Calif. @ Royce Hall
18 - San Francisco, Calif. @ Fillmore
19 - Portland, Ore. @ Roseland Theater
20 - Seattle, Wash. @ Showbox

Aqua Teen Soundtrack to feature The Hold Steady, Mastodon

Billboard.com has announced that the soundtrack for Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters will feature new tracks from rock band The Hold Steady and metal band Mastodon on the soundtrack for the upcoming film. Though the tracklist has not been released, Billboard has confirmed that both bands will appear.

Set to be released April 10, three days before the film opens the soundtrack will undoubtedly be a best seller.

Both bands will be touring later this year. Follow the link below for a sneak preview of Mastodon's track.

Listen Now - Mastodon - Cut You Up


Free indie rock downloads from Hanes, Rhapsody

Undergarment titan Hanes recently partnered with online music site Rhapsody to launch an "Indie Rock Downloads" section. Each week the site posts three completely free music downloads, provided the viewer can stomach a thirty second underwear spot.

The selection changes weekly and archives only date back one week. Artists range from the relatively well known (Apples in Stereo and Sloan) to the more obscure (Apartment, Sholi Sholi). All tracks are premium quality, full length, and advert free.

Listen Now - Apples in Stereo - Energy (Sound Advice Exclusive)
Get more music - Hanes' Indie Rock Downloads

Modest Mouse, Kaiser Chiefs, Andrew Bird to release new albums in March

The following is a list of new releases for this month. These dates are for U.S. releases unless otherwise noted. Release dates are subject to change, and sometimes do. This is by no means an exhaustive list of releases, but is chronological.

March 2007
[ 3.13 ] Rosie Thomas - These Friends Of Mine
[ 3.20 ] Andrew Bird - Armchair Apocrypha
[ 3.20 ] Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before The Ship Even
[ 3.27 ] Kaiser Chiefs - Yours Truly, Angry Mob
[ 3.27 ] Klaxons* - Myths Of The Near Future (Available in UK)

Listen Now - Rosie Thomas - Say Hello (Feat. Sufjan Stevens)

Sound Advice selection


WILCO's newest album released on Internet

Wilco fans can listen to the Windy City's favorite sons' new album Sky Blue Sky in its entirety starting March 11, 2007. Though the album will not be released in stores or be available via iTunes until May 15, 2007, the band has decided to let their fans get a first listen.

Listen Now - What Light
To the album - Sky Blue Sky

London Calling: Lily Allen's Alright Still

At first listen, Londoner Lily Allen's debut solo album Alright, Still sounds much like the other female pop efforts of the past several years a la Natasha Beddingfield. In fact, with all the hype surrounding the stateside release, it would be easy to dismiss it as yet another disposable pop album.

Yes, Allen's lyrics are street cred tough. Yes, she has a reputation as a "bad girl". If this were all to Allen and her album, she would merely be a U.K. version of Pink. They even dress alike and have enormous hair/wigs alike. Fortunately for us, there's more to Lily Allen than an accent and four letter words.

This reggae tinged album rocks staccato eighth note rhythms that conjure The Clash or Gang of Four. Her cockneyed sneer is reminiscent of the Sex Pistols. Allen also works in traces of trip hop with shades of the Sneaker Pimps and Estero. Her melodies are bubble gum catchy and absolutely hummable. And yes, she is a master of irony. "Everything is Just Wonderful" is as upbeat and sunshiny as a song can be but the lyrics tell a different story " Why can't I sleep at night/Don't say it's gonna be alright/I wanna be able to eat spaghetti bolognaise/and not feel bad about it for days and days and days."

While there are definitely the elements of Scary Spice on this album, "Take What you Take" comes to mind, the album demonstrates that an artist can be Top 40, plainspoken, and someone to take seriously. Alright, Still may not establish itself in the annals of rock history, but it is certainly worth a second listen. - Recommended

Listen - Alfie
Listen - Friend of Mine


The Best Album You've Never Heard: William Shatner's Has Been

William Shatner is a genius. Decades after being the dreamy, overacting captain of the Starship Enterprise, William Shatner's second career of self deprication has finally hit its stride. Last year's winner of the Emmy for Best Supporting Actor (Boston Legal) and sometime gameshow host (Show Me the Money) and Priceline.com pitchman has teamed with the likeliest of bedfellows for Has Been one of the most interesting albums of the year. Though the album was finished in 2001, he is just now beginning to promote it.

Rocker Ben Folds, who teamed with Shatner once before for "In Love", a track for Fold's first solo album 2001's Fear of Pop, co-wrote all the original tracks with Shatner and produced the LP which features appearances by Aimee Mann, Joe Jackson, and Henry Rollins among others.

While it is difficult to take this album seriously at first, the straightforward pop style is meticulously crafted, clever, and most of all enjoyable. Far from the novelty album one might expect, Has Been is emotionally and lyrically complex. From a cover of Pulp's "Common People", a lament for a wasted chance as fatherhood, to Shatner's Western themed address to his often vocal critics, it is clear that everyone on this album made it because they wanted to not because there was a political message, existential crisis, or pitch for a Peace Prize nomination. Has Been is the most pleasant musical surprise in a long time. - Highly Recommended

Listen - Common People
Listen - That's Me Tryin' (Feat. Ben Folds & Aimee Mann)


An open letter to all the Rosie O'Donnels

It may not be musical, but poet Beau Sia's "Open Letter to all the Rosie O'Donnels" regarding Rosie's remarks on The View reminds us the purpose and power of art in all its forms.

Here's a link to the comments Beau references: Rosie's Comments


"Arranged Biographically": Saint Louis' The Record Exchange

Boasting "the second biggest record collection in the world", The Record Exchange is Saint Louis' premiere record store and modern marvel. The sheer amount of vinyl at the Hampton location is at once breathtaking, intimidating, and overwhelming. This shop actually smells like an old record. Stacks and stacks of records line the walls and reel to reels, tape decks, and old school turntables litter the floor.

The atmosphere is positively "Hornby-esque". Male. Collectors. Quietly singing along with the Beatles record blasting through the quiet. Other than that no chit-chat. Staff that expects the customer to know what he (and the occasional she) wants. For the record snob and musical elitist, it is close to perfection.

Check it out, but be prepared to drop some cash. Vinyl prices can run from two to ten dollars, tapes are almost as much. Don't bother with the negligible CD collection. The point of this store is the vinyl and the days of the record store. The Record Exchange is by far the most extensive collection of vinyl in Saint Louis and a reminder of what fun shopping for records used to be.


Say hello to Captain Howdy

On Saturday March 3, Local Saint Louis trio Captain Howdy played the Schlafly Tap room in honor of the release of their first studio album, Rocks. Opening bands Highway Heat and John Boy's Courage led the way for Captain.

The vocal levels were a bit overpowered by the guitar work at the night's outset, but evened out at the night progressed. And though the amp levels were a bit askew making it seem as though CH's sound was too big for the room, the boys were musically sound with forthright guitar work, precision rhythm, high energy, and an eagerness to blow the doors off venue.

Captain Howdy stormed their way through their newest release, and while it took a song or so to settle in, the gents from Captain Howdy eventually found their groove. For fans of guitar driven, no nonsense rock, Captain Howdy is one of Saint Louis' finest.

For the Captain Howdy Photo Gallery, click here...



Click on this link to help bring Ben to Saint Louis again.


Barenaked Ladies take a step forward: Are Men

The problem with the Barenaked Ladies is, that just when they look like they are ready to settle into their place as an average, straightforward, unremarkable pop band, they do something interesting. Are Men, the latest album in their now two decade long career, is just that: interesting.

Technically Are Men is not a new album. This collection is part of the same recording session as the lads' previous album Are Me. Though there are similarities between the two, Men is livelier, and more energetic than Are Me. Longtime fans will be glad to know that many of the tracks, "Running Out of Ink" for example, on the album are done in the simple, guitar driven, clever lyric style to which they've grown accustomed. What is interesting are the risks.

First, the band makes an unapologetic foray into politics with "Fun and Games". Scathing and clever, it is as brash a statement as any war protest song ever was, complete with New Orleans jazz band at the bridge. Also, Are Me implements musical layering and tonal work which is another first for Ed Robertson and the boys. Tracks such as "Another Spin" or "One and Only" combine vocal work and harmony reminiscent of Brian Wilson or late Beach Boys circa Pet Sounds or Endless Summer.

The latest album demonstrates that while the Barenaked Ladies are still a reasonably straightforward, pleasant rock group, they are capable of creating interesting, sometimes captivating works and are far from finished. Not a perfect album, but still worthwhile. - Recommended